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    Gaming Industry Takes National Debate on Sports Betting to South by Southwest

    Press Release
    October 18, 2016

    Washington, DC – The American Gaming Association (AGA), in partnership with leading industry experts, has been selected by a popular vote for a first-of-its-kind panel discussion on regulated sports betting at the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

    The panel, “Sports Betting: No Longer Taboo for Leagues?” will explore major sports leagues’ long opposition to legalized sports betting and how they are now reconsidering that stance. Partnerships with daily fantasy sports sites and a willingness to place pro sports franchises in Las Vegas – along with a change in the public perception about gambling – calls into question the fate of the current federal sports betting ban, which Congress could soon seek to overturn.

    “The current approach to sports betting has failed and is driving a $150 billion illegal, underground marketplace,” said Sara Rayme, senior vice president of public affairs at the AGA. “South by Southwest is a renowned forum for soon-to-breakthrough issues and it’s clear that sports betting is nearing its tipping point.”

    In addition to Rayme, the panel will include Andrew Brandt, NFL business analyst at ESPN and director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for Sports Law at Villanova Law School; Daniel Wallach, a leading expert on sports betting law and attorney at Becker & Poliakoff PA; and Gabe Feldman, legal analyst at NFL Network and director of the Tulane Sports Law Program.

    Founded in 1987, SXSW convenes industry experts from interactive, film and music industries and will take place from March 10-19 in Austin, Texas. The date for AGA’s sports betting panel has not been released. 

    AGA estimates that $90 billion will be wagered on NFL and college football games this season. However, $88 billion – or 98 percent – of all bets will be made illegally. NFL ratings have fallen more than 10 percent this year compared to the first five weeks of last season. The federal ban on sports betting is depriving NFL TV partners and advertisers of significantly greater revenue through higher ratings and uniquely engaged viewers, according to a new Nielsen Sports study.

    The Nielsen research found that adults who bet on the NFL watched 19 more games in the 2015 regular season – more than an entire season’s worth – than adults who didn’t bet at all and generated more than double the ratings across all major broadcast and cable networks compared to average American adults.

    AGA is actively working to build a broad coalition in support of a legal sports betting market. In addition to groups like the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has signaled a willingness to examine whether the current approach to sports betting is working, AGA has convened law enforcement and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in support of taking a fresh look at the current sports betting law.

    About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S. casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.


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